Great Kids girls' annual cheer event took place September 22nd under the Friday night lights of Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium. Seabreeze High School Coach Amy Pantages welcomed Great Kids and provided Seabreeze Cheer tee shirts. Seabreeze cheerleaders and students were the perfect hosts, and our girls enjoyed face painting, performing gymnastics, and cheering with pom-poms! Thank you, Seabreeze High School, for making this such a fun event for our Great Kids girls and families. We LOVE Seabreeze Sandcrabs!
Osceola students welcomed Chief Mandarino from the Ormond Beach Fire Department. Chief Mandarino directs all the people working in the fire department and makes sure everyone knows what to do during emergencies. Chief Mandarino's #1 priority is making sure everyone is safe. Staying safe means being responsible citizens and following the laws. The Chief's most memorable time of service was during Hurricane Katrina when he led a team of firefighters in Louisiana for ten days. Thank you, Chief Mandarino, for sharing your career with us. You are a hero in our city!
Great Kids welcomed George, a therapy dog and his owner, Tammy Owens. Ms. Owens taught us about George's training as a therapy dog and shared stories of how he helped people in nursing homes this past year. We learned that therapy dogs are valuable because they bring comfort and joy to people during visits to hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and victims of disaster. We know that when we see a therapy dog wearing a vest, the dog is doing a special job. We were happy to meet George and Ms. Owens, and we like how they help people.
Great Kids recently held its inaugural Hero Fest, honoring extraordinary people who made positive changes in the world. Students shared hero stories through biography monologues, artwork, dance and musical performances. Dressed in character costumes, students confidently portrayed their chosen historical heroes, including Rodrigo as George Washington; Logan as Ben Franklin; Autumn as Betsy Ross; Branson as Thomas Jefferson; Anastasia as Sacagawea; Jermila as Harriet Tubman; Javin as Frederick Douglass; Riley as Abraham Lincoln; Ema as Clara Barton; Skylar as Anne Sullivan; McKenzie as Susan B. Anthony; Lyndsey as Laura Ingalls Wilder; Zealand and Jacob as Wilbur & Orville Wright; James as Theodore Roosevelt; Donjay as Franklin Roosevelt; Isabelle as Eleanor Roosevelt; Elijah as John F. Kennedy; Robert as Martin Luther King; Aneela as Sandra Day O’Connor; Abi as Mother Teresa and Marcus as Nelson Mandela. Our Art Showcase featured artwork including George Washington Carver by Mathew; Dr. Charles Drew by Aiden; Ruby Bridges by Christianna; Helen Keller by Mikaeli; Rosa Parks by Marthena; Thomas Edison by Christopher; Davy Crockett by Kadin and Malala Yousafzai by Carli Phillips. Carolyn Muldowney and Zara Hassan choregraphed a dance performance to the song, “Try Everything” for our Ortona students. Great Kids Ambassadors and Narrators demonstrated their best lifeskills as hosts of the event and performances. Following the event, a reception for all of our families and community was held in the church lobby. Special thanks to our event sponsors for providing their time, talent, facilities and refreshments - First United Methodist Church, Junior League of Daytona Beach, Wells Fargo, Brad Yates, Jerry Orzel, DB Pickles, Buffalo Wild Wings, Moore Fine Foods, Sam’s Club, Crabby Chris and our Great Kids Board of Directors. We are especially grateful to our everyday heroes for investing in the well-being of our children – our volunteers, families, community partners and Volusia County Schools.
Our favorite author, Mrs. Tomblin, took Great Kids on a fabulous walking tour of Ormond Beach. Students were fascinated with the many rooms filled with history in the Casements, John Rockefeller’s winter home in the early 1900’s. We sure are thankful to the city of Ormond Beach for restoring Mr. Rockefeller’s home!
We learned a lot about the Hotel Ormond while reading Mystery at the Hotel Ormond, so it was pretty cool to walk across Granada Boulevard, stop right where the hotel used to stand, and imagine being a guest in the Hotel Ormond in the 1920’s.
As we crossed Orchard Lane to view John Anderson’s old hunting lodge named the Talahloka, we couldn’t believe the cabin has been there since 1800’s.
Our last stop was the cupola, from the Hotel Ormond, a place that had so much meaning after reading Mrs. Tomblin’s book. We are grateful to Mrs. Tomblin for writing an awesome mystery, and for making history fun! We loved our OB Walking Tour!